Broadgate Circle, EC2M
WHAT? If you haven’t already said aloha to poké, the biggest street food trend of the year, then you better hurry up because there isn’t much of 2017 left. Pronounced pok-eh, the word means “cut” or “dice” in Hawaii.
WHERE? The one we visited was nestled into the second tier of Broadgate Circle (just above Jose Pizarro, regular circlers). Its first grab-and-go restaurant opened last year in Soho, followed by the City 10 months later, and Canary Wharf this week.
WHO? Inspired by childhood memories of Hawaiian food, co-founder James Gould-Porter quit his job to bring poké to London’s streets. He’s not the first to do so, but he has a powerful backer in former Soho House Group commercial director Chris Miller, who now runs restaurant investment platform White Rabbit Fund, which is also behind funky Indian eatery Kricket.
HOW DOES ONE POKE? A distinctly fishy odour pervades as you approach this wooden cubby hole containing to two small “bars”. One is the cash register and the other is a vast “Build Your Own Bowl” station, similar to the sort of thing you’d find in a Chopped or a Vital Ingredient. Pick from a base – warm brown or sushi rice, greens or slaw –, top with raw salmon, tuna or beetroot chunks, choose a pineapple or mango salsa then add as many toppings as you want for £8.85.
NO, REALLY, TELL ME WHAT TO ORDER: If you aren’t fussy, go for one of the house bowls. There are three – Classic Ahi (tuna), Yuzu Lomi Lomi (salmon)or Beet It (roasted beetroot) – and it’s a pound cheaper. Plus, they’re enormous. You really don’t need those extra toppings unless you plan on passing out at your desk at 3pm.
ALL SOUNDS A BIT HEALTHY: Beer! Did we mention there’s beer? In fact, it’s the first UK outlet to sell Hanalei Island IPA. Kona Longboard lager and Kona Big Wave ale are also sold, with the latter now available on draught. Waiting around after work? Grab a beer, order up fishy nachos or tacos, slather liberally with Sriracha mayo then take it to the terrace from 3pm.
THE VERDICT... Hardly a bargain, but good quality ingredients in generous amounts make Island Poké an ideal post-workout lunch that’s as hearty as it is Hawaiian.